Acquitted at trial – cannot expunge record

The current law in Florida does not allow persons acquitted at trial to expunge the record for 10 years. At most, the record can be sealed, but only if other requirements are met, like having no criminal convictions. So, if a person is accused of a serious felony offense, goes to trial and is acquitted, but had a prior open container conviction, the aquitted charge will still show on his/her criminal history. How can that be you may ask? Florida law only permits persons to seal or expunge one criminal episode in a lifetime (except for the rare adminstrative expunction). The expungment laws are too restrictive and need to be addressed by our legislature.
I am in favor of legislation that could make it a criminal offense for a company to report sealed or expunged criminal history information. Too many “background search companies” conduct a search and gather data. The problem is that they do not go back and update their data and continue to report criminal histories that have been legally sealed or expunged. The very reason for going through the process to begin with is thwarted when additional work must be done to get the companies to remove the inaccurate information. If you have questions about this area of law, please call us today.

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